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  • Text on screen: Innovative Teaching and Learning

    So UTS is really known for its innovation. It's really cutting edge in terms of its resources and one of the areas that we've been demonstrating that is with our partnership with Westmead Hospital. So instead of taking the hospital to the University, we've brought the students to the hospital. Westmead Hospital is one of the largest teaching hospitals in Australia servicing over a million people in Western Sydney. 

    Our partnership with UTS provides a unique opportunity for pharmacy students to experience the breadth and depth of hospital pharmacy practice that is otherwise not able to be undertaken as part of a traditional hospital pharmacy placement. The advanced clinical pharmacy elective is really interesting. So there's no lectures, there's no workshops, there's no formal classes. So what they're gaining is the opportunity to consolidate and to continue their learning but in a self-directed way. So they're learning to react as a pharmacist in that real-world setting.

    From an employer perspective, it has been refreshing to watch the students grow and develop during their time with us, in particular, their clinical judgment and confidence in hospital pharmacy practice. Being in the hospital setting and part of the pharmacy team, students develop their patient-centred care skills, they develop their critical thinking and clinical judgment skills and they really learn how to be a pharmacist.

    So what I'm enjoying about the Advanced Clinical Pharmacy elective is that you get to take that theoretical knowledge that you learn every day at UTS in the classroom and apply it to a practical setting here at Westmead Hospital. I think this elective has really helped me understand the patient perspective, so it's really prepared me as a future pharmacist.

    This elective's already helped me in my career: I've got an internship for next year in hospital pharmacy. It's also given me an opportunity to talk to different pharmacists who are in different roles and different stages of their careers and just say where it's possible to go with a career in pharmacy.

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  • Cherie Lucas:    

    Broadly speaking, my research is about pharmacy education and interprofessional collaboration. I test strategies that enable students to derive to better clinical decisions through reflective practices. I certainly hope that this type of research enables students to be better practitioners, making better decisions for better clinical outcomes for the patients. 

    I use a number of different strategies, so the RACA, the Reflective Ability Clinical Assessment, but I also use the RIPE Model, which is the Reflective Interprofessional Education Model, and we use the medium and high fidelity mannequins and simulation in standardized patients. We've been putting this research into practice, we've published around this model of learning, and recently we actually received a university award for this model of learning, too.

    Helen Benson:    

    My research is focused on the integration of pharmacists in general practice, which means when you go in to see your doctor, there's not only a nurse or a physio that you can see within the practice, but also a pharmacist. Pharmacists are really enjoying working within the general practice. It gives them a chance to use their skills and really show other healthcare professionals what they can do. The GPs have also loved having someone there to support them in helping patients understand their medications. I really hope that our research shows that having a pharmacist involved in a general practice team stops patients going to hospital because of drug related problems, helps them get the most out of their medicines, and really helps them control their disease states.

    Mehra Haghi:    

    My research is on chronic airway inflammations as presented in asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. There is currently no cure for these diseases and current anti-inflammatory formulations are insufficient.
    We are currently working on a pre-clinical validation of a novel anti-inflammatory platform that we've developed. We can load it with different therapeutics, and these therapeutics are going to induce cells' own recycling mechanism to target inflammation. This is a paradigm shift. No other therapeutic on the market has taken this approach to resolve inflammation. 
    In patients with lung diseases like asthma and cystic fibrosis, when the patients gets to a stage that they become refractive and they do not respond to current corticosteroid therapies, then this new treatment would be another option that helps their body's own mechanism, recycling mechanism, to fight the inflammation and clear the inflammation.

    Lisa Pont:    

    My research is looking at the safety and the quality of the way medicines are used in hospitals and nursing homes. I get medicine supply data from a pharmacy or an industry partner that has worked with nursing homes, and by looking at what's happening in the real world, we're able to identify problems, start to think about solutions, and change the way that medicines are used in facilities and in hospitals.

    I'm passionate about my research because I'm a pharmacist, and I started my life in the hospital setting where my specialty area was medicines used in older people. So it made sense for me, when I moved across to research, to bring that clinical knowledge and that background with me, that I'd been working one-on-one with older people and their medicines, and so it was just a natural progression to look at how we could improve things at that population level.

    Jack Taylor:    
    My research is interested in microvesicles. Microvesicles are small bubbles that are released from the surface of all cell types. In cancer, these microvesicles or bubbles pass messages that increase drug resistance, increase metastatic capacity. So basically, these microvesicles are causing the progression of cancer. 

    Multidrug resistance is a huge problem in cancer. We get clinical relapse of patients when they're treated with a chemotherapeutic agent, and we believe this is because of microvesicle signals, so in the end, we hope to come up with novel therapeutics that target these vesicles to stop the progression, stop multidrug resistance, and improve patient outcomes.


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